Boxing Community Rallies Around Cause of George Floyd
This is an extremely testing time for all of America. The fabric of our nation is coming to a precipice where we will either overcome or be sent down into a pit of eternal darkness. Times like this we ask what would the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) Muhammad Ali do or say. Moreover, who inside the boxing community will step up and look to be the calm during these dividing times.
On May 25, when four Minnesota police officers responded to a call about an alleged counterfeiting incident, little did they know this barbaric arrest would directly lead to nationwide protests. After arriving on the scene, and quickly identifying George Floyd as the suspect, the officers near immediately detained and handcuffed Floyd. At no point was Floyd resistant or hostile to law enforcement.
Nevertheless, for reasons that remain unclear, the officers felt the need to place Floyd on his stomach. By far, the most egregious offender in this instance was Officer Derek Chauvin. It was Chauvin who kept his knee clamped tightly on Floyd’s neck for nearly ten uninterrupted minutes. As a result, George Floyd died on the scene while protesters on-site recorded the gruesome encounter and screamed at the officers to stop.
BOXING WORLD SHOWS COMPASSION FOR GEORGE FLOYD
In the aftermath of the indefensible slaying, the nation erupted in coast to coast anger, protests, and destruction. Along with millions of US citizens who were disgusted by this vile misuse of power, a large segment of the boxing community has voiced their support of the movement set in motion in support of George Floyd.
Out of the tragedy of this killing however, new hope has been born. This has come in the form of how overtly multicultural the response has been. Both men and women of various races, regions, and economic backgrounds have all spoken up to condemn this grisly act of cruelty, along with the limp-wristed manner in which the Minnesota police department has handled the matter.
Established fighters such as Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Heather Hardy, Claressa Shields, Shawn Porter, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have voiced their sympathy for Floyd. Other fighters also took to social media to show their support.
Outside of the fighters, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, SHOWTIME boxing’s Stephen Espinoza, boxing promoter Lou DiBella, along with many more have publicly condemned the riot-inducing theft of life. Others have shown their support by retweeting powerful statements and footage of peaceful protests that has gone under the radar, as well as condemning those using this as an opportunity to commit criminal acts.
FRONTS LINES OF RACE AND ECONOMICS
Some believe athletes and boxers don’t have a place to weigh in on such heavy topics. Those of this ilk believe that the fighters should merely glove up, wage war in the ring, and keep their political views to themselves. However, that is not reality. Not only do the athletes and fighters also live in this world, many of their fans and supporters actively seek out their viewpoints on the topic.
Going a step further, boxing is in a very unique position to tackle issues of race and economics. It’s no secret that boxing heavily promotes, and has done so for over a hundred years, boxing events that have crossed racial, national, and regional lines.
Back in 1936, when Joe Louis fought Max Schmeling, their fight held tremendous racial implications on a global basis. In the buildup for this prizefight, Schmeling was billed as the embodiment of Nazi Germany’s so-called “superior white man”, while Louis was labeled the “champion on the blacks”.
Outside of that extreme circumstance, boxing promoters are quick to promote events cashing in on long-standing rivalries. For example, fights being hyped as Mexico v Puerto Rico or US v UK are very common. Therefore, it should be no surprise that this same group chimes in on such a highly charged subject.
It’s just good that on this topic, all the boxing entities stepping up to the challenge and voicing their opinion are remaining respectful and compassionate. The message from the boxing community is one hope that our nation at large can find a bit more common ground because where we are now will not work for anyone!
By: Garrisson Bland